I’m Deborah Fleming – I launched the glamorous swimwear label Pistol Panties in 2004 after seeing a gap in the market. My aim was to create stand-out swimwear that unites quirky style and feminine glamour with the perfect, flattering cut.
The collection is stocked worldwide, including Selfridges in London and I have my own boutique in Notting Hill, with plans to open further stores in selected cities soon.
What inspired you to become a swimwear designer?
Swimwear has always been part of my growing up from spending our summers in the South of France when I grew up in Paris and then moving to Miami when I was six. Here I lived 2 minutes from the beach – so swimwear was part of my every day wardrobe. We’d wear our bikinis under our clothes at school and all meet at the beach after school.
What makes your designs different from others?
Our DNA is about combining quirky prints, using very high end quality fabrics, and still keeping the most important factor in our designing process the cut and fit of the bikini or swimsuit. We don’t comprise one for the other and we always put our customer first before the “Buyer” of the store. It’s the end purchaser we want to impress the most.
Are there any celebrities wearing your designs and who are they?
We are lucky enough to have quite a few celebrities wearing our designs, we don’t send them out for free they come to the shop, and its usually the more famous ones that never ask for discounts! I dot really like to mention any names as I treat them like any other customer and they deserve their privacy.
Do you wear your own products?
Is the sky blue? Of course, I could never wear any other design, that would just be plain weird!
What’s your favourite swimwear brand (not your own!) and why?
Norma Kamali. She is the Aston Martin of swimwear designers.
Do you think there’s enough swimwear choice for plus sizes?
Funny you should mention that we are launching a new range for SS14 called Big Guns, which is for the larger cup size. It has been inspired by the ‘Queen of the pin-up’ – Bettie Page, and is a glamorous celebration of the voluptuous figure.
What advice would to give to an aspiring swimwear designer?
Know your customer, and Design from the heart.
How do you get your inspirations for new collections?
Everywhere, sometimes in the oddest of places.
Do you use paper and pencil to design your first draft or is it all done on computer?
Always paper and pencil sometimes even crayons as my house is always full of them!
What would you be doing if you weren’t a designer?
Interesting question…whatever it is, I would be creating something and then selling it. I love the marriage of creation and business.
What makes a great swimwear model?
A girl with confidence. Confidence is the best accessory.
Check out some of Deborah’s creations below and visit the Pistol Panties website to see her latest collections.